Recommend some adventure movies.
February 25, 2013 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend the awesomest outdoors/adventure movies that have blown your mind?

What I am looking for:

-Visually stunning
-Gives a vicarious thrill or sense of wonder
-Bonus points if it captures some real emotions, good or bad, but not absolutely necessary

I have liked Seb Montaz's I Believe I can Fly, and the First Ascent series from Sender Films. I am looking for documentary / film festival style films (e.g. nonfiction) not fiction films. Though honestly I'd love to hear any recommendations meeting the above criteria.

Lastly, rather than saying, "Check out XYZ film festival," I'd love tips for actual excellent films you've seen.

posted by htid to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Big Trouble in Little China.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:13 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Never Cry Wolf" is an amazing experience.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:14 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am a fan of "Eastern Rises", a film about some guys who headed out to fly-fish on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It blew my mind in a lot of different ways. It was fun to watch the guys interact, there was some great fishing footage, I still think about it four years after seeing it once in a high school gym at a screening of the Banff film fest.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:16 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Touching the Void is a wonder. Grizzly Man should not be missed, though some parts are very hard to watch. Both films stay with you.
posted by mochapickle at 9:17 AM on February 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

I recently watched the snowboard doc, The Art of Flight on Netflix streaming and thought it was pretty stunning.
And not exactly what you're looking for, but Samsara is pretty spectacular.
(note: Art of Flight was sponsored by Redbull, so there's a lot of RedBull signage.)
posted by FreezBoy at 9:32 AM on February 25, 2013

posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

A Map for Saturday
posted by backwards guitar at 9:39 AM on February 25, 2013

I was going to say Touching the Void as well and agree . . . that film stays with you.
posted by Sassyfras at 9:39 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if Romancing the Stone qualifies, but I remember it as being quite a good time.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:50 AM on February 25, 2013

Oh! The African Queen. What a great movie! And Raiders of the Lost Ark.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:51 AM on February 25, 2013

The Edge
posted by thelonius at 10:18 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Grey is excellent.
posted by scratch at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

What you The Endless Summer. The first one is preferable to the second, but both are excellent. (I have not seen Endless Summer Revisited.)
posted by sperose at 10:28 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Into the Wild
posted by AlliKat75 at 11:47 AM on February 25, 2013

Lastly, rather than saying, "Check out XYZ film festival," I'd love tips for actual excellent films you've seen.
I'm just going to ignore this for a second and just say, "Check out The Banff Mountain Film Festival" which is basically a showcase for all of the movies that you ask about. Specifically, you can trawl through the festival winners in the archives to get a pretty good selection of adventure documentaries. Though, to answer your question specifically, selections that I have loved from past BMFF's.

Last of the Great Unknown gorgeous documentary about the history of exploring slot canyons in the Grand Canyon.

Eastern Rises fly fishing in the wilds of Kamchatka. I am not a fly fisherman, yet I found this film to captivating and amazing.

Spoil not so much adventure, but definitely outdoors. Conservation film campaigning for the preservation of the Spirit Bear Wilderness in British Columbia in the wake of tar sands pipeline plans.

Cold gripping self-documentary about a trio of climbers attempting a 8000 meter peak in the Pakistani Himalaya in the teeth of winter. The opening shot of them on a portaledge in -51F conditions nearly made my balls implode. Also, the avalanche aftermath satisfies your "captures some real emotions" bonus point

Denali Experiment pro free-riders join a mountaineering expedition to climb Denali to ski and snowboard to the bottom. Great antiidote if you're jaded and worn out from watching too many heli-skiing free ride documentaries. More about the infectious fun of being in a good crew of adventurers than the usual adrenaline sports stuff.

The Collective's mountain bike films Roam, The Collective and Seasons are amongst the most well-crafted and gorgeous mountain bike films that I've seen. Worth checking out if you're basically looking for adventure films in the Sender films vein but for mountain bikes.

also, not quite as slick in production values as many of the above, but I remember catching this documentary about free climber, Derek Hersey, a few years ago at a Banff Film Festival and found it to be a poignant and beautiful profile about a Yosemite climbing bum.
posted by bl1nk at 12:06 PM on February 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

Lawrence of Arabia is visually stunning in HD.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:46 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Long Way Round is an English TV series that documented Charley Boorman and Ewan MacGregor riding motorcycles around the world. If you like it, follow up with Long Way Down, which documents their bike trip from John O'Groats to Cape Town.
posted by workerant at 2:39 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

the Vertical Frontier has some amazing footage of free solo climbing in Yosemite. I can't locate it on any streaming site though.
posted by TDIpod at 2:50 PM on February 25, 2013

Try Ride the Divide, although I'm pretty partial to it..

There's also an entire site for streaming these types of movies, called SteepEdge
posted by alex_skazat at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, The Horse Boy
posted by Sassyfras at 4:10 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can't go wrong with the original Raiders of the Lost Ark. Children of Men is also a great action/adventure film. Also The Black Stallion, at least the first act, is thrilling and filled with wonder.
posted by cellura p at 4:20 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I maintain that Die Hard is the greatest action movie ever (which counts as adventure, sorta) because John McLane is scared out of his mind the entire time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:58 PM on February 25, 2013

I also came here to say Touching The Void. I will add that Riding Giants has moments off jaw-dropping awe, and is an over-all interesting documentary that I have watched several times.
posted by Brody's chum at 5:27 PM on February 25, 2013

The Beach is a great movie meeting those criteria, though it is fiction. Beautiful, emotional, definitely an adventure.
posted by catatethebird at 5:29 PM on February 25, 2013

Fourthing Touching the Void in case you need more encouragement...I got seriously obsessed with that movie a couple years ago during a very snowy winter.
posted by Camofrog at 6:55 PM on February 25, 2013

Coming back to second Ride The Divide. In my experience, it's one of the truest endurance sports movies out there.
posted by bl1nk at 9:37 PM on February 25, 2013

Thanks all. I wanted to add that I asked this same question to a friend, and she recommended Asiemut which is also in the genre I was looking for. So if any future reader is looking for recs, maybe check that out as well the ones above.
posted by htid at 6:34 PM on March 15, 2013

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